Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Roosevelt, May 14, 2019.
What if Boris Yeltsin, for whatever reason, wasn’t involved in soviet politics?
The Soviet Union still falls apart and whatever emerges leans strongman eventually, but minus the personalities
I'm a bit of a Yeltsin aficionado. It's not that he wasn't vain, and at times ridiculous, or hopelessly corrupt, but he was also genuine or as genuine as the head of government of massive power in the 20th century can become, and he was crucial to the dismemberment of the Soviet beast, but if he wasn't there, someone else would have come along to spear the dragon.
Someone in a position of power in Moscow or Leningrad would have harnessed the bitterness and resentment and used it against the Party and then realized the Party and its apparatus could not or would not do anything to truly destroy him. It was only a matter of time. The problems in society were there. The lack of stability was there. The military was not willing to be made scapegoats in event of having to be used to put down a rebellion. The secret police was not willing to dirty their hands. The entire thing was wheezing and on rubber legs. Yeltsin just happened to be the guy who landed the shot.
Does Yeltsin bear any responsibility for the failure to retain a more federal state including Belarus, Ukraine, and the Central Asian Republics as opposed to the sudden complete independence that occurred?
This seems to be one of the favorite accusations of the modern Russian "imperialists" but for all practical purposes this was probably almost inevitable and, AFIAIK, mostly beneficial for the Russian Federation because under the SU it was allegedly subsidizing the union republics. I _suspect_ that on a personal level Yeltsin could be motivated by a desire to remove Gorbachev even from what became increasingly decorative position but this is just my guess.
The problem with Yeltsin was that while being a great leader of a movement he proved to be an incompetent ruler of a country. Admittedly, what he inherited was in a terrible shape economically and politically and it is not even clear what could be done to improve things.
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